>I’ve tried to do this for myself, creating a list of literary journals and then ranking them by various criteria–payment, circulation, reputation–and then putting them in rank order and drawing lines between distinct tiers. The process is tedious, and flawed, since assigning the values for reputation, especially, is necessarily subjective and if the process is tainted by that subjectivity, what’s the point of tiering in the first place? But there is a point in having a submission strategy. When I first started sending out stories, through Writer’s Relief, I used a vertical approach: stories went to a variety of publications, some small and no-pay, some big and good-pay, without regard for what I would do if a little magazine responded before, say, Paris Review (as if my chances there were as good as anywhere else!). But now I take a more rationale tiered approach. I may aim higher than is reasonable, and submit in the first instance only to the top magazines, but at least there are no quandries if something is accepted. Um, big if. But then you move down the list and submit to the second tier and so on. Again, though, building such a list is not easy.
Fortunately, someone (Mary Anne Mohanraj) did it for us: Literary Markets. The list isn’t complete, although I’ve noticed it growing, and there are some errors (I sent the creator a couple of corrections this morning and will continue to do that when I spot them), but it sure beats doing it myself.